Getting Down and Dirty for the Bay


After a long winter of trash blowing downstream and flooded riverbanks leaving debris on shore, it’s time to get outside and keep trash from making its way into the Bay. So grab your grubbiest clothes and a pair of work gloves, and prepare to get muddy with a little outdoors spring-cleaning at a Chesapeake Bay cleanup event.

Photo courtesy of the Chesapeake Bay ProgramThese events are a great way to get out of the house as a family and show the kids that taking care of their environment is important. “Getting kids involved from a young age, even just cleaning up their street and neighborhood, really helps make the connection between trash and our environment, while fostering a sense of stewardship,” says Ted Wolfe, Maryland Program Coordinator for the Alliance for the Chesapake Bay, and Project Clean Stream coordinator. These cleanup projects, which retrieve literal tons of trash from the Bay’s shorelines are also great for scouts and school groups, and teenagers, whose volunteer efforts can count toward service-learning hours. Cleaning up a part of your Bay will feel good.

“Family clean up events are great for being together outside for fresh air, good exercise and adventure, while doing something so important,” says Abbey Iliff, who lives in Annapolis with her two young children and who also happens to be married to South Riverkeeper Jesse Iliff. “The findings can generate fun stories, as well as serve as gentle reminders that without attention or care, so much can get in the waters that don’t belong. We’ve seen toothbrushes, toys, shoes, all kinds of things. It is fun to pretend how items you find got there and creating a story. Then, before you know it your family has worked as a team to fill whole bags and helped the Bay in a big way!”

Here are some great cleanup efforts near you! (Photo courtesy of the Chesapeake Bay Program)

April 14
Potomac River Watershed Cleanup
Throughout the Potomac watershed
9 a.m.–noon. 301-292-5665,
The 2017 Potomac cleanup was comprised of 9,000 volunteers at 270 sites, and removed more than 400,000 pounds of trash, 2,000 tires, 21,000 plastic bags and 9,000 cigarette butts. This year is the 30th anniversary cleanup event and promises even more volunteers throughout the watershed.

Potomac River Cleanup at Accokeek
9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Trash bags and gloves are provided for this event at Accokeek Farm, as a part of the Potomac River Watershed Cleanup. Registration required.

April 21
Betterton Beach Cleanup
9 a.m.–noon.
Head to the Eastern Shore for a special
Bay beach cleanup.

For more Earth Day events, click here.